Singer Throws Tantrum, Rock Star Gets Testy: 15 Things Seen and Heard at SXSW Music

Erykah Badu surprises Sonos Studio crowd, Wayne Coyne talks his way in to see Justin Timberlake, Depeche Mode party and other noteworthy happenings witnessed by THR writers at South by Southwest.
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Erykah Badu performs at the Sonos Studio

It's a wrap for South by Southwest 2013, which drew thousands of bands to Austin for a five-day music confab. Between the official shows, panels and day parties, there were plenty of sights and sounds. Among them: these 15 noteworthy happenings witnessed by Hollywood Reporter writers on the ground. 

Jared Leto joined @TwitterMusic at a private panel on the morning of March 12 at Sonos Studio to discuss how artists can best use Twitter to leverage their brand. "I think the benefit of using platforms like this is being able to speak directly, clearly and speak your mind -- communicate in a meaningful way," the 30 Seconds to Mars singer said from the studio's small outdoor stage. "Once you start delegating those things, your voice deteriorates a lot."

• The Delta Spirit's March 12 set at Cedar Door was a tug of war between the soundman (who wanted the group to wrap up on time) and the band (who wanted to play its full 45 minutes despite getting a late start). Both sort of won: The soundman cut all the PA sound to the stage, prompting muted singer Matt Vazquez to protest by dramatically climbing the stage scaffolding all the way to the top -- a la Eddie Vedder in Pearl Jam’s "Evenflow" video. Alas, he was coaxed down instead of performing a massive stage dive.

• Both The Mowglis and Free Energy, playing neighboring venues, suffered nearly identical sound problems during their afternoon sets March 14. Microphones were popping throughout their performances at Maggie Mae's and Peckerheads, respectively. The two bands were total pros, though, soldiering through a clearly terrible situation.

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• Depeche Mode celebrated its first South by Southwest performance at Brazos Theatre with a proper aftershow party March 14. Among the revelers at the rooftop soiree: Depeche’s Dave Gahan and Martin Gore along with the band’s label boss, Columbia Records chairman Rob Stringer, who gathered his team for a group photo at the end of the night (see below).

• During Foxygen's March 14 set at Red 7, singer Sam France threw a mini-tantrum -- going off on the audience, South by Southwest and the music industry in general, then storming off the stage unexpectedly. For a minute, the band didn't quite know what to do, until France re-emerged and sheepishly began the next song.

• Gossip Girl actress Kaylee DeFer joined boyfriend Michael Fitzpatrick, frontman of Fitz and the Tantrums, at the Spin House at Easy Tiger on March 14. Fitzpatrick and his band stopped by for gifting from EA Games and Beats By Dr. Dre, while DeFer sat with friends on a couch in the venue's VIP section.

• Fans packed into Sonos Studio on 3rd and Red River for a March 15 surprise appearance by Erykah Badu, who joined The Robert Glasper Experiment onstage. Badu performed several numbers with the recent Grammy winner and his band, including "Afro Blue" off the group's recent album Black Radio.

• “I thought my career was in better shape than playing a supermarket, but what the hell,” cracked a testy and somewhat amusing Rick Springfield in the midst of an acoustic mini-set on the roof of Austin’s Whole Foods flagship store March 15.

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• Spotted on the street not once, not twice, but thrice: Divine Fits/Spoon singer Britt Daniels.

• Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt and actor Dennis Quaid passed by each other in the small VIP area at Prince's March 16 show at La Zona Rosa, the former canoodling with his wife, and the latter on his way to the open bar, where he was disappointed they didn't have Grey Goose.

• The other hot ticket Saturday night was Justin Timberlake’s MySpace secret show at downtown’s Coppertank Events Center. Among those angling clipboard holders for entry some 20 minutes before showtime: The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne, who famously performed with Timberlake on England’s Top of the Pops in 2003. Although he had some trouble at the door, the eccentric frontman later was seen inside entertaining fellow partygoers and his own admirers.

• Who was that mop-topped young man flying the flannel whilst playing alongside John Fogerty onstage at Austin City Limits on Saturday night? The carbon copy could only be that fortunate son, Sean Fogerty, and inquiring minds still want to know if he was born on the bayou or came out of the sky.

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• Rock darlings Dawes may hold the 2013 record for most gigs played in less than a week. We lost count after their 13th. Reports that the band played at Waterloo Records and outside the San Jose Hotel simultaneously on March 16 are as yet unsubstantiated.

• Austin’s Four Seasons Hotel was the place to be as a slew of SXSW’s headlining performers and their representatives held court at the upstairs bar and the downstairs Trio restaurant. Among those spotted: Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan having a late Saturday lunch with Prospect Park management partner Peter Katsis, Pharrell Williams entertaining friends on Friday night and Daryl Hannah and boyfriend Rami Jaffe -- of The Wallflowers, Foo Fighters and Sound City Players fame -- checking out on Sunday afternoon.

• Among the throngs of zombie-eyed South By attendees spending St. Patrick's Day at the airport were Entourage star and musician Adrian Grenier, seen carrying his guitar through security at Austin’s Bergstrom International, and Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz, who, though he flew coach to LAX, splurged on a car service. 

Twitter: @THRMusic